Newcastle co-host launch of global report recognising the city as a world leader in ageing innovation

April 5th 2022

The UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) has partnered with the World Bank to co-host the launch of a report which provides a roadmap on how focusing on six key areas – universal design, housing solutions, multigenerational spaces, physical mobility, technology, and efficient spatial forms – can help policymakers design adaptive, productive, and inclusive age-ready cities. 

Today is the official launch of the report, titled Silver Hues: Building Age Ready Cities, and the launch event will take place as a live webinar and hosted by the World Bank in partnership with NICA. It will see industry leaders discuss the report in more detail, and what it means to create age ready cities and share brand new insights. Speakers include Director of NICA, Professor Nicola Palmarini, Professor Tom Kirkwood, Emeritus Professor at NICA and Maitreyi Das, Practice Manager, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice at World Bank.  

The world is becoming increasingly urban and older, which means cities will have a diverse, growing cohort of older persons who will have a lasting and profound social and economic impact in these communities. This new report shares a vision and roadmap for cities and towns as they prepare for an older urban age, especially in the light of COVID-19 and the vulnerability that older people face. 

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Its five institutions share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development. 

The ongoing partnership between The World Bank and NICA is demonstrative of the fact the centre is world leading in ageing innovation and builds on the North East’s position as a recognised High Potential Opportunity (HPO) for investment in healthy ageing, by the Department for International Trade (DIT).  

Home to world-class assets such as NICA, Newcastle is an epicentre of healthy ageing, with industry experts working cross sector to support the longevity economy, and to sustain the growth of the city and ultimately support the wellbeing of its residents.  

Professor Nicola Palmarini, Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, said:  

“The World Bank Report suggests ageing is a predictable reality – so planning for it and ensuring that urban infrastructure and services work across age groups is not just inclusive but is also economically and socially beneficial for cities. To us, longevity-ready cities can accomplish more than initiatives focused solely on old age. Longevity-ready cities are proactive – looking at long term wellbeing – encompassing early and mid-life and emphasising cross generational exchange. 

“This partnership between NICA and The World Bank is testament to our global networks and efforts in putting cities like Newcastle and the benefits of an ageing society, on the global map. We are a testbed of innovation here in Newcastle and aim to use our research to influence cross sector working around the globe in order to build age-ready cities from the built environment and urban planning policy, to social care and innovating for the health market.”

Pam Smith, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council, said: 

“Thanks to advances in science and healthcare, people are living longer. This gives us a huge opportunity for innovating for an ageing population, something which Newcastle is a world leader in. 

“The launch of this report with the World Bank, is great recognition for our city and wider region as thought leaders in healthy ageing and lies in direct synergy with our long-term ambitions for the North East’s Local Industrial Strategy, which aims to harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society and the opportunities of this rapidly emerging global billion-pound market.  

“This will not only benefit the wellbeing of our own residents but influence the evolution of age-ready cities across the world, cementing Newcastle’s position as a global leader in this sector.” 

The event will reveal further details of the World Bank report which suggests that cities can reach their goal to be age-ready by building a long-term vision, investing in data and analysis, consulting with a diverse group of stakeholders, designing practical and lasting measures while articulating the role of the public and private sectors, communities, and academics. 

Sameh Wahba, Global Director for the World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, said: 

“An age-ready city is a city for all. Age-readiness is not just about older persons. It has universal benefits and is conducive to better living for everyone. That is why we feel it is critical for countries – those that have a large ageing population and those that will see ageing in the coming years – to think about how their cities and towns can be planned and designed for an age-ready future”. 

To read the full report visit www.worldbank.org/age-ready-cities   

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